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tv   Erin Burnett Out Front  CNN  March 22, 2012 11:00pm-12:00am PDT

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if you're the adventurous type or like to splurge on crap -- literally -- sorry. you won't find a better cup of tea on "the ridiculist." good evening, everyone. i'm erin burnett. outfront tonight we have breaking news. staff sergeant robert bales, the man accused of shooting 16 afghan civilians in a house-to-house rampage on march 11th will be charged with 17 counts of murder, 6 counts of assault and attempted murder. this is according to a senior u.s. official. we're going to have much more on this in just a couple of moments. our pentagon reporter is trying to break down the news, explain these charges to us. paul callen is with me right here on set. paul, let's talk about this first. my question is 17 counts of
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murder. reports are he had killed 16 afghan civilians. can you help us make sense of that? >> this is very strange. it sounds like there may be another victim. the original reports were 9 children, 3 women and 4 men were killed in this rampage and now we seem to have another victim, so 17 counts would look like another victim. i suppose they could have indicted him on two theories relating to one count of murder, that's a possibility as well, but we'll have to wait to see the details. >> would it be if perhaps one of the victims, one of the women were pregnant? would that be another possibility? >> it's unlikely that that would be the case. you would really -- you'd have to have a fetus that was ready to be born. you know, one of the major problems in this case, and this has been said by the defense attorney, how do we know how these individuals were killed, because this took place in a field of battle, were there autopsies done? where are the bodies now? not an easy case to produce the actual victims when you're in
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the state of war so we'll have to look at that and see how it gets proved. >> i want to bring chris lawrence into this conversation, our pentagon reporter. he has been breaking this story. what can you tell us, chris? >> reporter: erin, i think we're going to learn a lot more when these charge sheets come out, particularly why the death count may have increased from 16 to 17. but i think that the thing to keep your eye on -- i apologize for that, i'm with my daughter and these charges don't seem to be making an impression on her right now. but i think the thing really to keep your eye on is the fact that when we talked to the officials earlier, they said they had limited forensic evidence. the fact that a lot of these deaths were committed with a high-powered rifle at very close range meant that some of the bullets passed through the victim' bodies and lodged in the walls, so they do have some measure of forensics.
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i think the key going forward will be how much they are actually able to prove, what they were able to determine from some of the eyewitness accounts. remember this occurred in the middle of the night, in the dark, with allegedly a soldier who was in full gear with very little of his face possibly showing. so down the road you start to ask questions about how much the witnesses will be able to identify a suspect and things like that. but for the immediate future, i think we look ahead to tomorrow and see how much detail about the crime the military releases in the charge sheets. >> i think we could also say that this is a circumstantial evidence case as well. i say that because there were admissions allegedly made by sergeant bales to some of his fellow soldiers in which he claimed at least that he wasn't shooting women and children, he was shooting men of military age. now, that would be an admission
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by him that would link him to the crime scene. if they then link his gun to the specific victims, then they easily make a connection and they can prove their case. >> do we have any information, chris, at this point or are you anticipating finding out any more in terms of what sort of punishment that prosecutors will be looking for? >> reporter: i think from everyone that i have been speaking with, it's likely that they would pursue a death penalty case in this case. but a lot of the military legal experts i've been speaking with have repeatedly pointed out that the last soldier who was executed for a crime was in 1961. to have a u.s. service member basically go on death row, the president himself has to personally sign off on that. the last time it happened was in 2008 when president george w. bush did so. that service member is actually
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still on death row. his case is still going through appeal. erin, here's the interesting thing. the crimes that that service member committed were back in the late '80s. you can see how long it takes for these cases to move through the legal system. so ultimately staff sergeant robert bales' case may end up on the president's desk of a president who is in office in the year 2025, not president barack obama or whoever even follows him. >> paul, could you weigh in on that. is this something president obama would have to make a decision on death row on? >> no. >> in this case there's so much anger out there that they would have to move quickly. >> i don't think that the president would be involved in the death penalty decision right now. i do think that because this is one of the biggest alleged massacres in memory, you have to think back to the melei massacre of sergeant william cowly to think of something as horrific. and you have the diplomatic and political problems that are being caused by this crime. afghan citizens will be looking
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saying is the u.s. seeking justice in this case. i would think they will seek the death penalty. but will it be imposed? we're looking 20 years down the line on that so i'm doubtful it will be imposed. >> so even given all the anger, that this has caused the united states, even to question whether it's in afghanistan, that this trial could take how long? >> oh, no, the trial itself could happen within the next year or so. this will be fast tracked, i assure you of that. but the appellate process in death penalty cases, these cases take 20 years because they go up the chain and are knocked back down, there's a retrial and by the time it's over you have 10, 15, 20 years before the sentence is upheld. >> when chris was talking with how they would proceed with the death penalty, we had sergeant bales' football coach on this show. a lot of other people have talked about this being a man that was greatly admired. does that help him? does that make up for any of
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this? or would all these vouches of good character, financial duress, marital difficulty, ptsd that was undiagnosed, will all of that help him or not? >> lawyers will call those mitigating factors and they certainly will help him. he's not being described as somebody who was brutal and nasty throughout his military career. he looks like somebody who snapped. and for that reason there will be a lot on his side in terms of not imposing the death penalty. unquestionably the prosecutors will seek the death penalty given the importance of this case. in military operations by the united states throughout the world. >> chris, what are your military sources telling you about how much pressure there is right now to go for the most tough, the worst situation for sergeant bales? >> reporter: i'm told in a lot of these cases, erin, the legal process is somewhat removed from that pressure.
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especially when you consider the investigative team is usually separate from sergeant bales' command structure. a lot of pains i'm told are taken to make sure that that legal process is sort of removed from the political process in much the same way that the supreme court operates sort of outside of the day-to-day wranglings between the administration and congress. i think one of the things to really keep an eye on is the fact that the army will have to present its case first. that means the defense will get a chance to take a look to see how much evidence is out there and then choose which strategy they want to go for, whether they think the evidence is weak and they can simply try to get a not guilty verdict or if they think the evidence is strong and perhaps pursue more of a diminished capacity defense, bringing things like traumatic
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brain injury and ptsd into their argument. >> i wanted to bring in michael breen into this conversation, a former army captain, and just ask you, captain, what you make of the 17 charges of murder that we have just found out that are going to be filed tomorrow, what do you make of those charges? >> i think there's nothing surprising about it. he committed a horrific series of crimes. i think we need to remember that it did happen in the context of war time. sergeant bales has been through a lot of as a soldier that's no explanation or excuse for the gross violation of his code of honor, to say the least in the horrific crimes that he committed. this issen action an action by individual. i hope it does not reflect on the honorable conduct of the millions of people who have served in iraq and afghanistan. >> it is true as part of sergeant bales' story there's
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been a lot of focus, a lot of it probably good for this country, about 20% of troops coming home that suffer from ptsd, but also part of the narrative has more and more people have said, gosh, are there other soldiers that are ticking time bombs? are there a lot of other people under stress or duress who haven't been diagnosed with ptsd who are out in the field now. do you think that's a fair concern or offensive to the people out there serving to be questioned like that? >> i think it's unfair and inaccurate. there's no evidence that says that ptsd or tbi makes someone inclined inclined, certainly not a ticking time bomb, but incline someone towards violence. this is one incident among millions who have served in the current conflicts. you know, if this were a civilian serial killer, we wouldn't be asking these questions. so i think the ticking time bomb thing comes up every single time there's an incident, but these are outdated stereotypes.
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the v.a. has looked into and i don't think they if found any evidence of a correlation or certainly not causation, but even a correlation between post-traumatic stress disorder and the inclination to commit murder. >> all right. captain, thank you very much. he'll be back and chris lawrence who is breaking that story for us. our pentagon reporter as he gets more of course we'll bring that to you, if we do get more tonight. we expect the 17 charges for murder for sergeant bales to come tomorrow. our breaking news continues, because at this minute, thousands are rallying in florida demanding justice on trayvon martin. and a toxicology report for whitney houston finally released. we now know what happened in the singer's final few hours. i heard they found energy here. it's good. we need the jobs. [customer:] we need to protect the environment.
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more breaking news tonight. thousands gathering right now in melon park in sanford, florida, all to support 17-year-old trayvon martin. the teenager was shot and killed last month by neighborhood watchman george zimmerman. this is now a case which the entire country is watching. the crowd tonight calling for zimmerman's arrest.
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at this point no charges have been filed. zimmerman maintains it was self defense. some experts have told us it might not be until there is a grand jury next month that george zimmerman may actually be charged, although they expect he will be. the question is could it happen sooner. earlier today sanford police chief, bill lee, who has been a lightning rod in this case, stepped down after receiving a no confidence vote from city commissioners. trayvon martin's parents said they were not satisfied. >> the temporary stepdown of bill lee is nothing. we want an arrest. we want a conviction and we want him sentenced for the murder of my son. >> all right. an arrest is still a question tonight as prosecutors are forced to deal with florida's stand your ground law. we're going to ft. melon park in a couple of moments but this controversial law is at the center of this and we want to talk about it because it would protect george zimmerman from being prosecuted. since the law was passed in 2005, justifiable homicides have
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more than tripled in the state of florida. senator oscar branyon is trying to change that and he's tried to change the law. bradford cohen is with the association of criminal defense attorneys and feels differently. justifiable homicides have tripled since the law has passed. when you look at it on a simple level, doesn't it mean the law is bad? >> on a very simple level, yes, i will agree with you. if you examine it, the only reason why that is increased in my opinion is because more people are using that law in regards to the justifiable homicide issue. what happens is you're not counting the people -- those people might have gone to trial and gotten not guilty by way of self-defense. they're just not having to raise that because they are raising it before trial or they're not getting arrested at all because they're raising it. so just because it's increased -- go ahead. >> so you're saying justifiable is the adjective that matters here. that homicides overall aren't going up? >> no. i think it's justifiable.
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that's the only issue that i have a concern about, because you're looking at one number. you're not looking at whether or not the murders in all went up. we're not talking about the ok corral here. people aren't shooting other people and using this law. these people that are using the law are using it justifiably. if they went to trial they could have been found not guilty by way of self-defense, but they are raising it before trial and raising it at a stage where they're not being arrested. >> senator branyon, obviously you disagree. tell me what the biggest issue with this stand up ground law is for you. >> i do. i really think he brought up one of the biggest issues. people are not even going to trial so we're not even having a court case where we talk about whether or not the person did use self-defense or whether they were attacked. we're not even looking into the facts. we're having people that are ending up just like zimmerman. that's the biggest problem with the law right now, it's too vague and it does not speak to the real -- it does not give the prosecutor the ability to actually have a trial.
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>> i don't -- >> let me just ask the senator one quick follow-up on this. the tampa bay times looked at this law, some great reporting. found that it's been used in 132 cases since it took effect in 2005. 74 times the defendant cleared, obviously 58 times he was not. is that an indication that it seems to work? it doesn't look like it always goes in favor of the person doing the shooting. >> you know, it doesn't always work. you know, let me just say this. i mean i don't think that someone shouldn't be able to defend themselves or that we could persecute someone for defending themselves. but when you get into a case like this where someone is pursuing or is the provocateur, then at that point you need to say that's not really self defense and we can't have someone with a nonrebuttable presumption when they're the ones that did the chase, so that's one of the biggest problems there. >> there's a couple of things wrong with what he said. number one is we don't know if this individual actually chased
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him and then cut off the chase as what he's saying. number two is you're actually putting faith in the police and the police department to do their own investigation and come up with whether or not it's self defense. so essentially what he's saying is he does not trust the police departments, he doesn't trust investigators, he doesn't trust the detectives that are doing their job and saying to themselves this was a case of self-defense. we don't even know the facts of this case. we don't know if the keys were in the car, if the keys were in the ignition. if there's other things that back up what he was saying is that he was leaving and that he was attacked when he was leaving, we don't know any of those facts. so just to justify -- >> i'm not trying to argue the case. >> should a police department not just have the unilateral right to do that without transparency, senator, is that what you're saying? >> exactly. that's my point. i'm not even talking about the case, i'm talking about the actual law. just yesterday in miami a man got off in this case where he chased the man down and stabbed him. it was a chase, it was caught on film. he got off on this exact same law. what i'm saying is --
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>> and that was by a judge, though. a judge made that decision. >> and you know what, if this went to a judge, then -- if zimmerman goes to a judge, then i might be okay with that. but it points out the loopholes that are in this law right now. i mean would you agree that you should be able to chase someone and then stab them if you felt like they were intimidating you back when you started the chase? >> we don't know -- >> brad, answer his question because i think it's an interesting intellectual exercise. >> if someone chases someone down and kills them not in self defense, no, then i don't think the law is applicable to that. but if someone is -- if there is more to the case than that, if there's something additional, which i'm sure there is, because judges in miami and judges in broward are very up to the law, they understand the law and they understand how to apply this and they did apply it and they found that it was dismissible. so he's saying if this case goes in front of a judge, if zimmerman goes in front of a judge and this case is dismissed, are the rallies over? do they see justice? because i don't think that's what's going to happen.
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>> i think at that point that's where we step in and change the law. at this point, if he gets off and if the facts are the facts that we've heard so far and he gets off, then that's why i say the law needs to be changed because i just don't fundamentally believe that's the way things should work. >> the problem is you don't know the facts. >> the one thing is you don't know the facts. >> one fact we do know is that trayvon martin did not have a gun. >> right. >> and if it's stand your ground, shouldn't you be at such a point that you're worried for your life that there's a gun. i mean he has skittles and an arizona iced tea. >> are you asking me? >> yeah, i'm trying to understand that, with no weapon in his hand, how it would be okay to shoot him in self defense? >> it doesn't necessarily mean that you have to have a weapon. weapon, no weapon, if someone is beating you to the point that you are in fear of your life, you are allowed to take action. that is what the law is about. so i don't know if he had skittles and an iced tea or what happened or if he was beating him crazily, i have no idea.
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i know the back of his head was bleeding. i know his nose was bleeding. i know there's evidence to show there was some sort of scuffle. but the police did an investigation. that's what they're saying, complete investigation. during their investigation, they 100% back up zimmerman. so this is going to go to trial, if it does go to trial, you're going to put a police officer on the stand that's going to say i believe he acted in self defense. this is a loser case for the prosecution if that's what's going to happen. >> do you agree with that, senator branyon? perhaps racial profiling could have played a role in self defense. he could have thought because it was a black teenager, he felt threatened when he shouldn't have and he had no right. >> and that has been one of the problems with the law. it implies that you should go out -- it gives you the ability to do what zimmerman has been accused of doing, which is believing that someone might be up to no good and you can chase them and, you know, if someone runs up on me, i might run and feel threatened and then i might fight back. now you're saying if i run or if i push them off of me, somebody
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who i have no clue who he is, if i push him off of me, he can pull out a gun and shoot me. if you're saying that that's what the law should do, then that's why i believe we should change it. and let me just say this. i'm sorry, go ahead, erin. >> i was just going to finish the conversation. so finish your sentence first. >> well, i think we need to change it. i mean, i've seen the law. i mean we know exactly -- a lot of people have agreed that this law is way too vague, it needs to be specified. >> all right, thank you very much. appreciate both of you taking the time. senator branyon and brad lee, we appreciate it. a lot of passion on this. we do have literally thousands of people at this moment in ft. melon park in sanford, florida, gathering together. here is an aerial picture of what's going on. it really began at the top of the hour. david has been covering the story for the "miami herald." david, what is going on right now? obviously a lot of people behind you. >> reporter: hi, how are you. well, it's a real interesting scene.
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there's definitely thousands of people here. it's definitely a mixed crowd ethnically and it's a very boisterous crowd, very spirited but very, very peaceful. everyone here is listening to speakers talk, demanding justice. they are waiting for reverend al sharpton to come with the family of trayvon martin. and right now it's just a big gathering of people wanting justice. >> well, david, thank you very much. we're going to keep checking in as that rally grows. the passions on this are incredible. john avlon, what i'm curious about is whether this is going to affect presidential politics. whether the president or any of the candidates will make a phone call to the family or make a comment. >> that's right, well, it hasn't happened yet. this is, first of all, bigger than politics, this is a matter of justice. when you have thousands of people weeks later rallying in a sense of outrage, the question is what do we do with that passion? how does that affect our national conversation? we've already seen the florida state senator who authored this bill saying it shouldn't apply to mr. zimmerman. there are ways that politics can
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start to channel this passion in constructive directions. but it becomes the responsibility to use it as a wake-up call and remind people that race is still a problem and can depolarize the situation. >> how does the president handle this? as the first african-american president of the united states. this is both personal for him as well as a national issue. >> so far there has not been a statement, in part because i think his weighing in would be seen potentially as politicizing, especially with his opponents. here's the question. do the republican candidates help depolarize the situation by calling the family and making the point that they're running as president for the whole nation. that i think is a moral obligation not to try to answer these questions because it's a distraction but to assume that level of responsibility and to try to begin to heal and depolarize this conversation. that's the obligation of all political leaders in the country. >> john avlon, thank you very much. we have new details about the death of whitney houston. the toxicology report out within the past couple of hours. we have that for you. and a marine sergeant who posted comments critical of the president is facing dismissal.
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breaking news tonight, staff sergeant robert bales, the man accused of shooting 16 afghan civilians in a house-to-house late in the night on march 11 rampage will be charged with 17 counts of murder and 6 counts of assault and attempted murder. coming up we'll go live outside the ft. leavenworth prison. number two, the national security of the united states, water shortages and polluted water. the assessment released today focused on seven river basins in the middle east, asia and africa. a senior u.s. intelligence official tells cnn terrorist groups could target nations with those rivers due to their vulnerability. there are serious water issues in the next ten years. nigeria's finance minister could be the next president of the world bank. the "wall street journal" reporting several countries will nominate her to the position. the role of president of the world bank has traditionally gone to an american and this is a big endorsement for nigeria
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which despite endemic corruption is forming ahead with being one of the world's top 20 economies. nigeria is not only the biggest supplier of light crude it has -- to the united states but to me it was energy, entrepreneurialism. jobless claims fell last week. economists tell outfront signs continue to point toward another month of positive job growth. saying employers will add jobs at about 200,000 of them in march. it's been 231 days since the u.s. lost its top credit rating. what are we doing to get it back? always worth reminding us of that situation. breaking news tonight, the los angeles county coroner says whitney houston's death was officially an accident, but the coroner's office declared today that houston died from accidental drowning with heart disease and cocaine listed as contributing factors. now, the preliminary report from the beverly hills police department lists four other drugs found in the pop star's
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system, including marijuana and xanax. it does say, though, that those actually didn't contribute to her death. joining me now is the doctor who treated anna nicole smith and our legal analyst paul callan is back. doctor, let me start with you. is this what we expected and can we tell from the investigation that you can do as a coroner which drugs would directly contribute and which ones didn't? >> well, i think this really highlights the idea of a combination of medications. although there was the medications like xanax and benadryl and the other medications, now benadryl is an over-the-counter medication, so there's a whole host of substances in here. and they may have contributed or contributed to the state of mind or how drowsy she may have been. but the key is obviously cocaine use is -- has been implicated here in the cause of death, and it appears that there may have been a chronic use because her arteries were hardened a little
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more accelerated than you would expect in a 48-year-old woman. so the -- >> and doctor, i'm sorry, i just want to -- let me interrupt because i want to make sure i understand that cocaine could be and is often a driver of heart disease. the heart disease couldn't have come from something else? i didn't know that. >> well, cocaine over years of use can accelerate heart disease or plaque in the arteries over chronic use. so the short effects are that it could -- in someone without heart disease it could cause a fatal arrhythmia from heart rate increasing, but over time it can accelerate your heart disease. >> paul, let me ask you a crucial question here, which of course given the michael jackson trial now with conrad murray is the first question. now we've got the doctor death out in california giving pain medication to people. will police look into how she got the drugs, the cocaine, the marijuana, the xanax, although the xanax is not explicitly tied to her death?
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>> well, i think the doctors are off the hook in the whitney houston case because there's only one prescription drug, xanax, and they're saying that didn't cause the death. they're just saying there was some xanax in her blood stream. it's not causative. if they're looking for a criminal prosecution, they'll look in two directions. one, who sold her the cocaine. you could have a theory against the drug dealer who sold her the cocaine. they could also, and i'm not saying they'll do this, but we'd have to know the people who were in the room with her when she went into the bathtub. did they know that she was cocaine intoxicated, that she might go under water? could they have been reckless or negligent in their conduct. now, we don't know and i doubt that it would amount to a criminal case. i think in the end there will be no criminal case here. >> is there not an urge in the system now to try to establish more and more precedent to, if you were the dealer of drugs or you were the doctor, whatever it is, to go ahead and push charges, that that might actually result in fewer people abusing all of these drugs?
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>> theoretically i understand your making that argument, but in truth prosecutors have had a very hard time getting convictions in these cases. they got a conviction in the michael jackson case because of the odd fact pattern, using propofol in a nonoperating room environment. but a garden variety xanax prescription or even a drug dealer prescribing -- prescribing, selling cocaine, that really -- that happens every day in the street and everybody doesn't get prosecuted for murder for selling drugs. so i don't think they're going in that direction here. this is an unfortunate death caused by drug addiction and heart disease. i think you'll see people move on. >> doctor, from what you know about the drugs, the specific cocktail we're hearing about, do you have any sense when she took them or can we tell how close to her death that she took these individual drugs? >> i think -- the levels have not been out but cocaine is at metabolized quickly. so it had to have been within
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minutes because it clears the system very quickly. if you're going to catch it in the blood, it had to have happened quickly. now the other drugs, including flexaril, remember flexeril is also a prescription drug, a muscle relaxant so you have a combination of uppers, the cocaine, and downers, like the benadryl and the xanax and the flexeril. so the problem is the russian roulette system happens here. there's just a combination which leads to a medical disaster. >> all right, well thank you very much, doctor and paul. a marine sergeant says he's facing dismissal after posting comments about the president on facebook, and the military coup topples the government in the country of mali. will this lead to an increase in terrorism activity? the most spectacular experiences are happening here.
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the passat is one of nine volkswagen models named a 2012 iihs top safety pick. not that we'd ever brag about it. turn right. come on, nine. turn left. hit the brakes. huh? how'd that get there? [ male announcer ] we can't hide how proud we are to have nine 2012 iihs top safety picks. so we're celebrating with our "safety in numbers" event. that's the power of german engineering. right now lease the 2012 passat for $219 a month. lease the 2012 passat it doesn't look risky. i mean, phil, does this look risky to you? nancy? fred? no. well it is. in a high-risk area, there's a 1-in-4 chance homes like us will flood. i'm glad i got flood insurance. fred, you should look into it. i'm a risk-taker. [ female announcer ] only flood insurance covers floods. visit floodsmart.gov/risk to learn your risk.
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will be giving away passafree copies of the alcoholism & addiction cure. to get yours, go to ssagesmalibubook.com. we have breaking news tonight. staff sergeant robert bales, the man accused of shooting 16 afghan civilians in a house-to-house rampage march 11th will be charged with 17 counts of murder, 6 counts of assault and attempted murdered and all this according to a senior u.s. official who spoke to cnn. he is being held in a military prison at ft. leavenworth, kansas. ted rowlands is there following the story. what's the latest you can tell us? >> reporter: well, erin, we're not getting any information from ft. leavenworth. they are not commenting because these charges haven't officially been released.
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we reached out to john henry browne, the attorney of sergeant bales who was here earlier meeting for two days with his client. he says until he's seen the charging document and officially shown these charges, he is not going to respond to what he says are, quote, leaks. so we're getting no information from bales' attorney or from ft. leavenworth here. one of the specific things we're asking is why 17 charges when the official death toll as far as we knew was only 16. clearly someone else must have died in the past few days. >> ted, i'm curious, our pentagon team is reporting that some of the difficulties here in proving this case include the fact that autopsies were not done on those afghan civilians. there could be resistance in the afghan community to, obviously, taking them out of the ground and to finding more information out from the autopsies. i know you've spoken to bales' attorney. what has he told you about his client, how he plans to defend him?
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>> reporter: well, he's been very forward with his skepticism in terms of the amount of evidence here. another thing is witnesses. how much do the afghan witnesses know and will they volunteer to be transported to the united states during a trial. will they be able to identify bales. so he has publicly said that he is a bit skeptical of the evidence out there that would directly convict his client. clearly he'll use that as a bargaining chip as they move forward through this very long process. you'll have the u.s. government likely going for the death penalty and bales and his attorney likely saying that he should be acquitted and it will take a considerable amount of time, these cases always do. but it's interesting that he is so forward and so out in the open saying that he doesn't believe there is enough evidence to convict his client. >> pretty incredible to hear. ted rowlands, thank you very much, as you can see standing outside ft. leavenworth. where sergeant bales is tonight. now free speech or grounds
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for discharge? officer stein said he founded the armed forces tea party and wrote on the group's page he would not obey the president's orders. he modified that saying he would not obey illegal orders. he wrote, obama lies. obama is the domestic enemy. sergeant stein has questioned the president's birth certificate and is accused of violating a department of defense policy limiting the political activities of service members. sergeant stein spoke to cnn earlier today and here's what he said to defend himself. >> telling me -- i swore an oath to defend the constitution, but i don't have the right to interpret it? well, i mean, i'm an american, that constitution is a part of the founding documents of my country. just because i sign a document
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saying i'm going to join the military doesn't waive my ability to interpret the constitution. >> we have a former army cam tape who joins us again. let me put this question straight to you. is this free speech or is this this -- i don't know what the right word would be, but calling the president the domestic enemy our oath speaks about doesn't feel right. >> no, it doesn't feel right because it isn't right, erin. i mean, what's shocking about this frankly is that sergeant stein seems to be surprised that he's leaving the marine corps over this. or is likely to. he knew the rules when he signed up. everyone has the privilege to serve in the u.s. military and wear that uniform today is a volunteer. i knew the rules when i signed up too. that includes abiding by and living by the uniform code of justice. that's been in place for over 200 years. it's stood the test of time and exists to protect the constitution, that sergeant stein seems so concerned about and to protect our democracy. we do not want our military
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involved in politics. if sergeant stein wants to serve in if military, if he wants to check out what it's like what it's like to live in a democracy he ought to check out pakistan and see how things are working out there. >> he said he had a disclaimer on the site that said, you know, as a lot of people do on twitter, my tweets are my own, they don't reflect my organization. i'm curious whether you think that goes far, far enough? >> it doesn't cut it. sergeant stein is being charged under article 134 of the uniform code of military justice, but he's getting off easy in some ways. article 82 which is far lesser used and far more serious is the code for mutiny. i know it sounds like something out of a bad movie and navy sail. but it means getting a group of people together who all together agree to stop following orders. that's what sergeant stein says i'm not going to follow the president's orders, he's not in charge anymore. >> i'm curious if you think
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there are changes though when you sign up. i think this is fascinating when you look at the department of defense. you agree to when you sign up to be in the military in this country, you say you're not going to participate unless you're authorized in public speeches, picket lines, interviews, marches or any public demonstration including those pertaining to civil rights. when in uniform. first of all, is when in uniform a literal thing or not? because that's important. and secondly, public speech. i would imagine that they need to adjust this for social media because it would seem fair that facebook and twitter are public speech, certainly in the private sector where we are, we treat them as such. >> sure. and just to be clear, the uniform members of the military enjoy a pretty broad amount of freedom of speech on a whole number of issues in the private time when they're not wearing the uniform. but questioning the authority of the commander in chief, questioning the president's authority to give orders, stating you won't follow the orders if asked to is pretty extreme and he certainly knew better.
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i think you'd have trouble finding anyone in the military who doesn't understand that the military is an instrument of our elected officials. this is an act of faith. i mean, when i joined the u.s. military i looked it a consciously as an act of faith in american democracy. as a statement when i took that oath of my trust in the american electorate that i would abide by their wishes at the ballot box when they issued the orders. i personally disagreed very strongly with the invasion of iraq in 2003, but i was an army lieutenant. i went to iraq and i fought for a year in the infantry country, because that's what my oath means. i had given my word to the american people that i would do. sergeant stein understands that or at least he how is. >> thank you very much. appreciate you taking the time. let us know what you think on the blog and our facebook page. we want to know what you think and especially those of you in the military. let us know. well, tim tebow is the newest jet and he landed on a special jet in new york. but there are a number of things
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you might not know about the deal and we dug and we dug and we found them and this is great. the government of mali was toppled by a military coup. we've got a personal link to this story. aflac! ha! isn't major medical enough? huh! no! who's gonna help cover the holes in their plans? aflac! quack! like medical bills they don't pay for? aflac! or help pay the mortgage? quack! or child care? quack! aflaaac! and everyday expenses? huh?! blurlbrlblrlbr!!! [ thlurp! ] aflac! [ male announcer ] help your family stay afloat at aflac.com. plegh! [ kareem ] i was fascinated by balsa wood airplanes since i was a kid. [ mike ] i always wondered how did an airplane get in the air. at ge aviation, we build jet engines. we lift people up off the ground to 35 thousand feet. these engines are built by hand with very precise assembly techniques. [ mike ] it's gonna fly people around the world.
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safely and better than it's ever done before. it would be a real treat to hear this monster fire up. [ jaronda ] i think a lot of people, when they look at a jet engine, they see a big hunk of metal. but when i look at it, i see seth, mark, tom, and people like that who work on engines every day. [ tom ] i would love to see this thing fly. [ kareem ] it's a dream, honestly. there it is. oh, wow. that's so cool! yeah, that was awesome! [ cheering ] [ tom ] i wanna see that again. ♪
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so i remember covering brett favre's arrival when he was the
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quarterback coming in to save the jets. it was breaking news, we cut into programming, we sat there awaiting the plane breathlessly. it was a day. today it was deja vu. tim tebow arrived in new york and local media were rabid. now he's finally here. the jets can get started on what's really important, selling merchandise. which brings me to tonight's number. 84.99. that's the price of a tim tebow jets jersey for sale at nfl.com. his jersey has been a hot seller the past two seasons. there are some crucial snags here. first, we don't know his number for the new york jets. when he played for the broncos he was number 15, but there is no guarantee he'll get that number, so we have to wait for that. the other thing, the tebow jersey for sale now is made by reebok. but nike takes over as the nfl's official outfitter next month so there are rumors there could be real changes coming in how the jerseys look. so the jersey that you buy if you buy one now might not look like the one tim tebow may be wearing next season.
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will that make the early bird jerseys more valuable because they're rare, one of a kind, special or limited edition or less because they're not accurate. so let us know on facebook, twitter or cnn.com/outfront. let's make a new market. still out front, a boa stricter, 42 bats an my sister. today, we stand against the tyranny of meager travel cards.
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battle speech right? may i? capital one is issuing a venture double miles challenge. show us how much you spent last year and we'll give you 2 miles for every dollar spent on your travel reward card. up to 100,000 miles! hawaii, here we come. claim your miles at capitalone.com today! what's in your wallet? can you play games on that? not on the runway. no.
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here's a story that hasn't gotten enough coverage. there was a coup in the country of mali overnight. the military toppled the president after a gun battle in the capital. president torre is unaccounted for but reportedly safe. the united states has strongly condemned the violence and called for the immediate restoration of constitutional rule. in recent years the united states has feared that al qaeda and other militant groups are gaining strong holds in mali. the president was considered an ally in fighting terrorists. the generals behind the coup said he wasn't doing enough. now, though, there's complete disarray and there are a lot of reasons to hope democracy wins and violence doesn't cause harm to an already desperately poor country. a country that's also personal to my own family. my sister laurie, you know her as jasper's mom, lived there three years while she served in the peace corps.
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when i heard the news, i called her and reminded her about when i visited her in her village and a boa constrictor slithered slowly, heavily, ponderously over the backs of our knees one night and there is no electricity. she denies this happened, but my other sister backs me up. we were lying side by side. she shared another story too. she had bats, 42 of them. they slept in her hut during the day and went out at night. like bats do while she slept. she spent a lot of time cleaning up the bat poop and used it to fertilize her garden. they was she -- she was thinking about how symbiotic that relationship was between her and her bats. i was thinking, wow, is it a little strange that you counted your 42 bats. we laughed about those stories but we also remembered very serious things too. there was a muslim festival that she took me to where christians and muslims were celebrating together in african style.